A Travel Price Comparison for California Palm Springs vs. San Francisco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and San Francisco can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert resort town located about two hours east of Los Angeles, most famously known as Hollywood's playground, where stars and starlets could escape for rest and relaxation but still be close enough to return for impromptu work.

It's no wonder that Palm Springs is increasingly popular as a weekend getaway for special occasions, and even for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Closer than the typical Las Vegas weekend for Southern California residents, Palm Springs provides a desert getaway with endless possibilities of activities, whether visitors want to gamble, shop, hike, or wander through an art gallery.

Climate in the high-desert is generally warm with highs in the 100s during the hot and dry summers, and lows in the mid 40s in the winter months, with sparse rainfall. However, if you're visiting during winter, be sure to pack versatile attire and layers as the days may be warm, but the nights in the low desert can get chilly enough to convince you to change into long pants.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful city that is famous for it's picturesque neighborhoods, liberal character, and stunning location on the bay. Some people describe San Francisco as the United State's most "European City." This title most likely comes from its compact development and its easy walkability. It also has no shortage of parks and public spaces where you can pass some time. The city sits on the end of a peninsula and offers stunning views of the blue bay, rolling green hills, and the striking Golden Gate Bridge.

Which city is cheaper, San Francisco or Palm Springs?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Palm Springs is $165, while the average daily cost in San Francisco is $175. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Palm Springs and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $96
    San Francisco $106
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $192
    San Francisco $212
Compare Hotels in Palm Springs and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Palm Springs or San Francisco? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Palm Springs


Hotels in San Francisco


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Palm Springs Hotel Prices and San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $42
    San Francisco $13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $970
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $729
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO -Round-Trip Private Transfer: $597
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs/San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Minibus: $556
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs/San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Luxury C: $524
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Arrival Private Transfer: $485
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs/San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Exec SUV: $467
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs or San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by SUV: $440
  • Palm Springs Private Transfer To San Diego, CA.: $398
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs or San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Sedan: $378
  • Los Angeles Private Transfer From Palm Springs.: $375
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $365

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Francisco

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in San Francisco:


  • Taxi to SFO
    $45
  • Golden Gate Bridge Toll
    $6.00
  • Alcatraz Tour
    $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Francisco

Also for San Francisco, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Francisco Airport SFO: $40
  • Private Departure Transfer to San Francisco Airport SFO: $40
  • Private Airport Transfer: from San Francisco to San Francisco Int. Airport (SFO): $43
  • Private Departure Transfer from San Francisco to SFO San Francisco Airport: $57
  • Cruise Terminal to San Francisco Airport (SFO) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Cruise Terminal - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • San Francisco Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $65
  • San Francisco Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $65
  • Private transfer from San Francisco to SFO Airport for up to 4 passengers: $73
  • Private SFO Departure Transfer from San Francisco: $74
  • San Francisco Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive SUV: $75
  • Private transfer from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to San Francisco City for up to 4 passengers: $80

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Palm Springs change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Palm Springs $42
    San Francisco $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Palm Springs

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Palm Springs.

  • Private French-Inspired Cooking Class with a Fun Local: $72

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Francisco

For San Francisco, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $15
  • Traveling Spoon Pad Thai and Papaya Salad Private Online Cooking Class: $25
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Cooking with Ale: let's make Tiramisu - private groups: $80
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $80
  • American Cooking Class in San Francisco with a Local near Golden Gate Park: $82
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • Russian Hill Gourmet Food Tour: $97
  • I Can't Believe I Ate My Way Through Chinatown - Food Tour: $98
  • Mamaz Social Food Arepa Class and Dinner: $100
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $103
  • Hayes Valley Gourmet Food Tour: $108

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $23
    San Francisco $37

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Palm Springs are as follows:

  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Desert: $250
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs: $250
  • Joshua Tree National Park: Driving Tour: $179
  • Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs: $55
  • Mods & Icons Tour of Palm Springs: $127
  • Palm Springs All-City Tour: $323
  • Palm Springs Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $29
  • Palm Springs Windmill Self-Driving Tour Interactive Fun Safe: $49
  • Indian Canyons Bike and Hike Adventure: $119
  • Indian Canyons Hiking Tour by Jeep: $175
  • Playground of the Stars Palm Springs Tour: $323
  • Private Golden Days Tour of Palm Springs: $323

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Francisco.

  • San Francisco Private Tour: 19th Century Gold Rush Exploration Game: $4.96
  • Syn City SF: The Synesthesia Walking Audio Tour of Haight-Ashbury by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • San Francisco's Barbary Past Walking Audio Tour: $5.34
  • Food, History, and Resistance: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of San Francisco's Japantown: $5.34
  • Union Square to Lotta's Fountain Walking Tour by VoiceMap: $5.40
  • Walk the Haight Audio Tour: Tune into San Francisco‚Äôs Hippie Counterculture: $5.99
  • San Francisco Private Tour: 70s Hippie Culture Exploration Game: $6.21
  • The Remarkable History of San Francisco's Glen Park and Glen Canyon Audio Tour: $7.55
  • Ultimate San Francisco Self-Driving Audio Tour: $8.00
  • Bike Tour of Tucson: $10
  • The Flyer San Francisco Admission Ticket: $12
  • San Francisco Scavenger Hunt: SF Park Tour and Haight-Ashbury Experience: $12

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $10
    San Francisco $15

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in San Francisco:

  • San Francisco Bar Hunt: Soul of San Francisco Bar Crawl: $12
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Crawl: $60
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $70
  • Half-Day Sonoma Wine Tour: $100
  • Shore Excursion: Napa and Sonoma Ultimate Wine Tasting Experience Full-Day Tour: $135
  • San Francisco City & Wine tour: $140
  • Chariot wine tour: $145
  • From Full-Day Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $149
  • Viticulture with Charm: Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $149
  • Small Group Redwoods and Wine Country Trip Including Wine Tasting and Cave Tour: $152
  • Small Group Muir Woods with Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $169
  • The Perfect Blend: Napa and Sonoma Combo Wine Tour from San Francisco: $169


When comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and San Francisco, we can see that San Francisco is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.


When is the best time to visit Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Palm Springs as well as San Francisco. Also, many travelers come to San Francisco for the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.


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In July, Palm Springs is generally a little warmer than San Francisco. Temperatures in Palm Springs average around 73°F (23°C), and San Francisco stays around 63°F (17°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in July than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Palm Springs 73°F (23°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Autumn?

Both San Francisco and Palm Springs are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Also, many visitors come to San Francisco in the autumn for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.


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Palm Springs is a little warmer than San Francisco in the autumn. The temperature in Palm Springs is usually 69°F (20°C) in October, and San Francisco stays around 63°F (17°C).

In October, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Palm Springs 69°F (20°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Winter?

Both San Francisco and Palm Springs during the winter are popular places to visit. Furthermore, most visitors come to San Francisco for the museums, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine during these months.


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In the winter, Palm Springs is a little warmer than San Francisco. Typically, the winter temperatures in Palm Springs in January are around 57°F (14°C), and San Francisco is about 50°F (10°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in January than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 2 inches (52 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Palm Springs 57°F (14°C) 
    San Francisco 50°F (10°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Palm Springs and San Francisco. Furthermore, the spring months attract visitors to San Francisco because of the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty.


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In April, Palm Springs is generally a little warmer than San Francisco. Temperatures in Palm Springs average around 62°F (17°C), and San Francisco stays around 58°F (14°C).

In April, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 0.9 inches (24 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Palm Springs 62°F (17°C) 
    San Francisco 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for San Francisco and Palm Springs

Palm Springs San Francisco
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 58°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 59°F (15°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm) 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 69°F (20°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 74°F (24°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 69°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 57°F (14°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)


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Palm Springs vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

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